Calif. Republican attacks Sessions over marijuana policy

Calif. Republican attacks Sessions over marijuana policy
© Greg Nash

Rep. Dana RohrabacherDana Tyrone RohrabacherRussia raises problems for GOP candidates Election Countdown: Senate, House Dems build cash advantage | 2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser | Trump has M in war chest | Republican blasts parents for donating to rival | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders to campaign in Kansas The Hill's Morning Report — Trump’s walk-back fails to stem outrage on Putin meeting MORE (R-Calif.) is sharply criticizing Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsData confirm that marijuana decriminalization is long overdue The FIRST STEP Act sets up a dangerous future The Sessions DOJ is working to end the great asylum hustle MORE's decision to allow federal prosecutors to target marijuana users in states where use of the drug is legal.

In the Thursday statement on his website, Rohrabacher ripped Sessions for the decision, which the lawmaker warns will only hurt GOP chances at the ballot box during November's midterm elections.

"The attorney general of the United States has just delivered an extravagant holiday gift to the drug cartels. By attacking the will of the American people, who overwhelmingly favor marijuana legalization, Jeff Sessions has shown a preference for allowing all commerce in marijuana to take place in the black market, which will inevitably bring the spike in violence he mistakenly attributes to marijuana itself," Rohrabacher said in his statement.

"By taking this benighted minority position, he actually places Republicans’ electoral fortunes in jeopardy," he added.

The California lawmaker's statement came after Sessions earlier Thursday rescinded orders that directed federal prosecutors to deprioritize prosecution of marijuana-related cases in states where the drug is legal. Recreational marijuana, already a booming industry, became legal in Rohrabacher's home state earlier this week.

Republicans including Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiThis week: GOP mulls vote on ‘abolish ICE’ legislation Dem infighting erupts over Supreme Court pick McConnell: Senate to confirm Kavanaugh by Oct. 1 MORE (Alaska) and Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerMcConnell calls for Senate hearings on Russia sanctions GOP seeks separation from Trump on Russia Republican bill aims to deter NATO members from using Russian pipeline MORE (Colo.) have joined Democrats in denouncing Sessions's move.

Rohrabacher also noted that Sessions's decision appeared to contradict President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff: Surveillance warrant docs show that Nunes memo 'misrepresented and distorted these applications' Chicago detention facility under investigation following allegations of abuse of migrant children Ex-Trump aide: Surveillance warrants are 'complete ignorance' and 'insanity' MORE's campaign pledge to allow states to determine their own marijuana policy.

Trump told a local news station in July of 2016 that he wouldn't support using the federal government to "shut down" recreational marijuana at the state level in places where it is legal.

"I wouldn’t do that … I think it’s up to the states, yeah. I’m a states person. I think it should be up to the states, absolutely," Trump said at the time.

"By attacking the clear will of the American people, the attorney general contradicts President Trump’s campaign pledges to leave medical and recreational marijuana questions for the states to decide," Rohrabacher said Thursday.

Sessions's announcement Thursday threw the recreational marijuana industry into chaos and prompted a wave of backlash from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.